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Line Adjustments aim to Provide Boost

Wednesday, 10.22.2008 / 12:37 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Line Adjustments aim to Provide Boost

Yesterday was the power play’s turn to have a different look.  Today, those changes carried over to even strength.

Paul Branecky
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Continuing with what worked in the team’s last game against Anaheim, Rod Brind’Amour centered a line with Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen, while Eric Staal played with Sergei Samsonov and Patrick Eaves, who is back on a scoring line after bouncing around the lineup in the early going.

It’s the first time in recent memory that Ray Whitney and Eric Staal have been split up.  That change seems to be designed to balance the overall scoring a little bit more, as both of those players have done their part with six and five points through the first two games, respectively, to pace the Canes in scoring.  “The Weapon” (no longer secret), Niclas Wallin, is tied with Staal for second place.

One benefit of the changes could be more involvement from players like Samsonov and Eaves.  They’ve combined for only one point so far - an assist by Eaves on opening night.  I think Samsonov in particular has looked fine so far, and his points will come.  The recent changes may speed that up - both players had their chances in the Anaheim game.

”I think it’s just a balance to get all the lines contributing, just to give it a different look since we had lost a couple of games,” said coach Peter Laviolette.  “Roddy and Whit played together for a year and a half, and the year they played together they were both the leading scorers.  Staal has had some success with Samsonov, and hopefully we can generate offense from more than just one player and do it from multiple lines and the back end.”

Brandon Sutter’s line with Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose remained unchanged, while Wade Brookbank and Dan LaCouture rounded out an incomplete fourth line caused by Tuomo Ruutu’s continued absence – he skated on his own for a lengthy period prior to practice, but is unlikely to play tomorrow.

“I think at this point it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Laviolette of Ruutu.  “He’s been out for a while, this has been nagging, and I think to get through a practice and give him some time to make sure he’s 100 percent (will be good).  Then when he comes back, he’s here for good.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 53 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 51 12 19 1 31
K. Versteeg 52 10 21 1 31
J. Skinner 53 18 12 -3 30
J. Staal 53 12 18 7 30
E. Staal 53 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 53 8 16 -8 24
A. Nestrasil 46 7 12 -1 19
J. Nordstrom 42 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 53 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 5 .905 2.43
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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